By Oliver Hall
Redundancies will start taking effect at a Michelin tyres plant this week as a result of the economic downturn.
The tyres company will lay off 350 employees at its Opelika plant in Alabama on 2nd October. The plant will be shut down completely on 31st October.
The job losses are part of “ramp-down activities” at the factory, according to Michelin officials.
Michelin announced the closure of the Opelika plant, which builds BF Goodrich brand passenger and light truck tyres, in April.
The tyres company explained: “The decision comes in the wake of the continuing economic crisis as consumers are driving fewer miles, purchasing fewer vehicles and delaying tire replacement purchases.
“The dramatic drop in market demand has created significant overcapacity in the North American tyre markets that Michelin does not expect to rebound in the near term.”
Michelin plans to consolidate production at its BFGoodrich plants in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The Opelika plant was an example cited in the battle to stop the flood of imported Chinese tyres from harming the domestic industry, which resulted in the 35% tariff imposed on products from China.
The United Steelworkers (USW) union claimed that domestic production of consumer tyres had dropped by more than 25 per cent. The closure of Opelika is expected to cost 1,000 workers their jobs.